These Are The Statistics

Statistics for the Widowed

  1. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 800,000 people are widowed each year in the United States. “Nearly 700,000 women lose their husbands each year and will be widows for an average of 14 years”-U.S. Bureau of the Census (1999)
  2. There are 13.6 million widows in the United States. Over 11 million of the widowed, in the US, are women. (American Association of Retired Persons 2001)
  3. UNITED NATIONS (AP) 6/23/2010 — At least 245 million women around the world have been widowed and more than 115 million of them live in devastating poverty, according to a new study launched Tuesday night by Cherie Blair, wife of the former British prime minister. According to the report, the countries with the highest number of widows in 2010 were China with 43 million, India with 42.4 million, the United States with 13.6 million, Indonesia with 9.4 million, Japan with 7.4 million, Russia with 7.1 million, Brazil with 5.6 million, Germany with 5.1 million, and Bangladesh and Vietnam with about 4.7 million each.
  4. Death of a spouse is ranked as the #1 Stressor: Holmes and Rahe stress scale.  Losing a spouse is ranked number one on the stress index scale; making this one of life’s most devastating events. The stress chart assigns a numerical point value to each life stressor. Death of a spouse scores 100 points. Oftentimes there is a snowball effect of stressors that occur as a result of the loss. Scores of 300+ indicate a strong risk of illness.
  5. With knowledge and proper care, we can prevent or lesson this statistic: 60% of those who lose a spouse or significant other will experience a serious illness in the 12 months following that loss. Those widowed have reported illnesses like cancer, pancreas’ shutting down, shingles….Widows and the friends and family that love them need to be aware of the snowball effect of such a staggering loss. We encourage you to take care of yourself!
  6. Sleep can be severely impacted with the loss of a spouse.  Disrupted sleep makes it harder to handle our grief, our lives, and even the day-to-day duties of making the bed or paying the bills. And it may also affect our health. Read more: How to Cope with Grief and Learn to Sleep Alone
  7. Widowhood increases survivors’ risk of dyingAccording to the American Public Health Journal   This longitudinal study of 373 189 elderly American couples shows that the effect of widowhood on mortality varies substantially by the causes of death of both spouses. We found these results for husbands and wives, even after adjusting for a wide range of potentially confounding factors, including the health of both spouses.   Widowhood increases survivors’ risk of dying from almost all causes, including cancer, but it increases the risk for some causes more than for others. The converse also holds: widowhood increases survivors’ all-cause mortality in response to almost all causes of death of the predecedent spouse, but the actual cause of death of the predecedent spouse makes a difference. The death of a spouse, for whatever reason, is a significant threat to health and poses a substantial risk of death by whatever cause.
  8. On average 75% of the survivor’s support base is lost following the loss of a spouse or significant other; this includes loss of support from family and friends. There are a multitude of reasons for losing friends and family including; loss of couples friends. Those widowed can isolate, we can be sad and unpleasant to be around.  Family members are grieving and they go through the unpleasant stages of grief.  We take on more responsibility (taking care of a house and/or children). Life changes in huge ways and we need to build new friendships and support systems.
  9. 85 percent of consumers agree that most people need life insurance, yet just 62 percent say they have it. Source: LIMRA’s Life Insurance Barometer Study 2013
  10. 44 percent of U.S. households had individual life insurance as of 2010 — a 50-year low. In 1960, 72 percent of Americans owned individual life insurance. In 1992, 55 percent owned it. Source: LIMRA’s Trends in Life Insurance Ownership study
  11. 40 percent of Americans who have life insurance coverage don’t think they have enough. Source: Genworth LifeJacket Study 2011
  12. 70 percent of U.S. households with children under 18 would have trouble meeting everyday living expenses within a few months if a primary wage earner were to die today. 4 in 10 households with children under 18 say they would immediately have trouble meeting everyday living expenses. Source: LIMRA Household Trends in U.S. Life Insurance Ownership, 2010
  13. People who feel consistently lonely have a 14% higher risk of premature death than those who don’t, a new study shows. The impact of loneliness on early death is almost as strong as being poor, which increased the chances of dying early by 19% the research found. “Loneliness is a risk factor for early death beyond what can be explained by poor health behaviors,” says psychologist John Cacioppo, Director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Source: USA Today
  14. Can a person really die of a broken heart?  Found in Star Tribune Variety Section E, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. By Allie Shah
    “It’s very real,” said Dr. Scott Sharkey, a cardiologist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.  Doctors even have a not-so-subtle name for it:  broken heart syndrome. “Any cardiologist in town will tell you that they’ve seen several cases of this,” Sharkey said.  He studies the medical condition, which is triggered by sudden, major stress.  The symptoms are similar to a heart attack:  shortness of breath, chest pains, an accelerated heartbeat. For senior citizens, this type of sudden heart injury can be especially dangerous when combined with pre-existing conditions and their age.  Researchers at the University of Glasgow conducted a large study of more than 4,000 married couples, ages 45 to 64, and found that widows and widowers had a 30 percent elevated risk of death in the first 6 months after their spouses had died.
  15. One bereaved in five is likely to develop a psychiatric disorder…the highest rate are found in boys. Journal of Child Psychology, Oct. 2000
  16. In a survey of 300 incarcerated teens, 96% indicated that someone significant in their lives had died. Columbia University
  17. 85% of all prisoners on death row experienced the death of a parent during their childhood. Virginia Simpson PHD, The Mourning Star Center, CA
  18. Between 5% and 7.5% of all children are actively grieving. US Census Bureau
  19. “Almost half the women over 65 years of age in the United States are widows. About 7 in 10 of these women live alone.” (U.S. Census, 2000) In recent years the average American woman’s expected lifespan has increased to eighty or more. However, the societal systems in place for caring for the elderly have not changed at the same rapid pace leaving many widows in poverty.
  20. One Social Security Administration report shows that “for the past thirty or more years the rate of poverty among elderly widows is consistently three to four times higher than elderly married women.” (SSA, 2005) These statistics do not take into account the population of widows under the age of 65 or those raising families.